Sunday, 3 April 2016

The Shroppie Fly at Audlem

The clocks went back last weekend; and so a week later we are reaping the benefits of British Summer Time.  I had planned today's route, and at 63 miles a little further than usual, especially for early April.

 13 of us met at Chester Town Hall.  A helpful passer by offered to take our group picture (I was just about to ask when he offered) - he took his time, and ended up right low on the floor (probably not my best angle!) so I will show both of them just because of the effort he went to!

We set off through town and followed the canal out to Christleton, and into the lanes.  I tried to keep a steady but slightly faster pace that I may normally plod at, holding a fairly steady 13 mph, but this dropped as we hit the hills just after Tattenhall (Harthill specifically!).  From here we had a down hill and gentle undulations to pass Cholmondely Castle. I had tried to negotiate using the tea rooms at Chomondely, but the estate manager insisted we would have to pay an entrance fee (£6, reduced by a pound on normal entry).  This is such a shame, as now they have lost out on 13 teas/ coffees, and the chance that people may come back and visit.

So we went to the very friendly and helpful Cholmondely Arms, just a little further on.  Teas, coffees, hot chocolates and a cappuccino revived us a little but five decided to head back (plans for the afternoon).
So, I phoned The Shroppie Fly and booked a table for six, although the landlord was not convinced we needed to and that we were mad riding to Audlem in this weather (what was actually a rather pleasant spring day!); and we set off.

It was a bit of an adventure -  I plot my route at home on the computer; and then follow my little blue line on the GPS.  I should really ride a route in advance but I'm afraid I do not have time for that.  Hence two of the roads were labelled 'closed' on our way - one was not closed at all
but gave us a nice traffic free road from Pinsley Green to near Wrenbury station; the other was the final drop to Audlem on the A525.  Imagine our glee when a motorbike (which had beeped at us as it passed) and a car had to reverse back out and turn around - we just dismounted to cross the bridge (as pedestrians!).  

Lunch was pleasant (if not a little confusing - I had poppadum and naam bread with my Chilli con carne...?!)  and as we finished Tony and friends headed off to get back earlier as he had a rehearsal at Theatr Clwyd.

So that left Bob, Dave and myself.  Heading out of Audlem on the A529 (the correct direction and not towards Market Drayton) we picked up a little lane/ track introduced to the club by Stu a few years ago.  It saves a long detour to Nantwich to cross the River Weaver, and is a delightful and quiet lane through two farms.  The only person we saw was a chap who appeared concerned for our welfare - 

Him "this isn't a cycleway you know"
Me "yes, but it is a lovely cut through and it is a right of way"
Him "But it is a private road"
Me "but it is a public right of way?"
Him "It is dangerous"
Me "Why?"
Him "because of farm traffic"
Me "oh well, thank you we will be careful"

Suffice to say we saw nothing and no-one else.  

Then we met some geese in the lane, lovely to see but they had a good hiss at us!

By this time Dave also had to leave us to get to work, so he left us at Sound, and we continued to Ravensmoor; I then found a little lane Bob had not been down before.  I was feeling weary so I ditched the route over Peckforton, as candle workshops would be closed by now anyway, and we headed round Beeston instead.

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